5 Christmas Ham Hacks, According to One of Australia’s Most Awarded Butchers

Christmas ham

The tradition of eating ham on Christmas Day is centuries old, believed to have evolved from the Germanic pagan ritual of sacrificing a wild boar during festivals. These days, a Christmas ham, also called the Yule Ham, is still a staple on many a lunch or dinner menu on the holiday, with considerable time and effort going into its prepping, cooking and serving.

So, if you’re one of the many looking to serve Christmas ham this year, we thought we’d throw you a bone (pun intended) by tapping into the expertise of Australia’s most awarded butchery Tender Gourmet Butchery and captain of the Australian team in the world Butchery Olympics (yep, it’s a thing), Adam Stratton, for his top hacks on buying, readying and making it. Ahead, everything you need to know to become a pro at Christmas ham.

How to Find Affordable Christmas Ham

“Buying ham at a price naturally determines the quality of the meat so my best recommendation is to buy something medium to better range when it comes to pricing. Entry-level is around $10 per kilo. Mid-range price is $19 per kilo. For the best quality ham, I recommend spending between $15-19 per kilo.

“The cheaper quality hams often have a smoke flavour injected into them, as opposed to naturally, which is not as tasty as a high-quality cut. If you’re wanting to make a big investment, spend a minimum of $100-150 to ensure you’re not disappointed and stuck with it for 3 weeks.”

Where to Buy Your Christmas Ham

“Buy a reputable ham with the bone as it is guaranteed to be Australian if it has the bone. I like to say, ‘buy ham on the bone because it’s from home’. Shop local this Christmas with Australian Ham. Additionally, go with a brand of meat you have heard of before for the best quality cut.”

How to Prep and Cook Christmas Ham

“Prepping and cooking ham is really simple. Just leave the fat on so when you cook it, it stays moist. Go for ham with fat on it rather than a lean one to ensure the best taste.

“Cooking steps: Firstly, peel the skin back from fat before lightly scoring the fat. Coat with your choice of marmalade — my favourite is the Hanks Marmalade. Cook at 180 degrees for 1.5-2 hours to serve hot, alternatively, cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins to serve cold.”

“Be prepared, source a glaze that is pre-made so you don’t have to waste time making it yourself. If you do want to make a simple and quick glaze, I recommend orange marmalade and seeded mustard, combined in a saucepan.”

When to Cook Your Christmas Ham

“I like to cook it on the day, nothing better than nice warm hot ham served ready to go. Some people cook it the night before to eat it cold with a prettier effect. Ideally, cook the ham 1-1.5 hours before serving Christmas lunch and dinner to ensure it’s hot.”

How to Serve It

“It’s most commonly served with pickles and a salad, but, of course, you’ll want to serve with a whole Christmas feast. There’s nothing better than all the proteins together on the table.”

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